SUGAR HILL — Mark McCorkle went about his job relatively quietly Wednesday, but the body of his work spoke volumes.
McCorkle went 5-for-11 from beyond the 3-point line and converted 9 of 10 free throws en route to a 30-point performance, leading South Forsyth to a 64-57 win against Mountain View in the first round of the Lanier Christmas Tournament.
The senior shooting guard hit six free throws late in the fourth quarter to help the War Eagles hold off the Bears, who trimmed a 13-point halftime deficit to 47-45 early in the final period.
Though McCorkle hit at least one trey in every quarter (two in the first) and didn’t miss a two-point field goal on four attempts, head coach Kevin Dankosky’s eyes widened when he saw McCorkle’s numbers.
“I told him after the game ‘that was a really quiet 30,’” Dankosky said. “You don’t keep count of the stats and stuff while you’re watching the game as a coach, but when [South’s book keeper] told me he had 30 points in the game I was like ‘wow, that’s a great 30.’”
South earned another shot at county rival Lambert in the semifinals. The Longhorns beat the War Eagles 80-70 on Dec. 2 in the teams’ region opener.
The War Eagles (3-6) displayed few signs of a team that came in mired in a five-game losing streak, taking a commanding 33-20 halftime lead and making enough shots down the stretch to keep Mountain View (1-8) at bay.
“Every day is a new page in our book,” Dankosky said. “This is our new year, basically, so we wanted to start out on the right foot. We did that in a big way today.”
Forward Douglas Cotter scored 11 points and post man Nick Graf battled through an injured foot to produce 10.
Mountain View’s Sean Stanke poured in 16 points, and Andre Joseph and Ryan Gibbs tallied 10 apiece, but the Bears gave up the lead on a trey by South guard Geronimo Cruz with the first quarter winding down.
They never got it back.
Graf scored eight points in the second quarter as South pulled ahead.
Mountain View actually outscored the War Eagles 37-31 in the second half and trimmed the lead to two on a Jordan Strickland free throw that opened the fourth-quarter scoring. The Bears were within a possession of the lead as late as the two-minute mark, but McCorkle’s two free throws on a shooting foul and pair of perfect one-and-one appearances iced it.
McCorkle and Cotter each made a 3 during the fourth.
“You have to give [Mountain View] credit for battling back,” Dankosky said. “It was a game there until the final end.”
Thursday’s Lambert/South winner advanced to today’s championship game, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Lanier. Semifinal results were unavailable as of press time.
Mountain View (girls) 56, South Forsyth 35
South’s girls team never really woke up Wednesday morning.
Some obvious rust showed during the Lady War Eagles’ loss to Mountain View in the first game of the Lanier Christmas Tournament, which featured a 9 a.m. tipoff. South (4-5) shot 26 percent from the floor, was outrebounded 40-29 and turned the ball over 30 times.
That last tally did the most damage, allowing the Lady Bears (8-1) to score easy points off steals.
“Coming back from the break, having a week off, considering all that, I don’t think it was as bad as the score indicated,” South coach Keith Gravitt said. “It’s frustrating when you make mistakes like that and you know that your players are capable of more.”
The War Eagles faced Lambert Thursday in the consolation portion of the bracket. Results were unavailable as of press time.
Led by Kelsey Hutchins’ 12 points, four Mountain View players scored in double figures. South’s Kristie Mason and Ally Welch scored 11 and 10, respectively, and Rachel Myers drilled three 3-pointers, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a sluggish start.
Mountain View commenced the game on a 7-2 run and led 13-6 after a frame. Myers connected on two treys in the second to help South keep pace, and the War Eagles trailed just 24-19 at the break.
“I told the girls at halftime, make a few more of the free throws that we missed and a couple missed layups and we’re up two or three,” Gravitt said. “We did a lot of positives. Unfortunately, they just didn’t convert for us.”
South kept it a two-possession game until midway through the third, when the Bears pulled away for good. Tynisha Bledsoe nailed a 3 from the right wing, Iceis Walker an easy two off a steal and DiAndra Pringle connected on a late jumper as Mountain View closed the period on a 9-2 run.